The world, however, is far different today than it was some 25 years ago when the nation's 40th president relaxed at his retreat in the rolling hills of southern California. . . .Frankly, in many ways the political climate in the 1980s wasn't all that different from today:
The former actor and California governor took office in 1981 when the world was absorbed by the Cold War, and good versus evil was defined by countries that aligned with the United States and those that stood with the Soviet Union--"the evil empire" in Reagan's lexicon. The arms race and the ever-present threat of nuclear war overshadowed social issues like abortion. Stem cell research didn't exist. There was no public debate about gay marriage or the so-called right to die.
--Abortion was contentious then too (Robert Bork, anyone?). And frankly, the same hysteria and lack of legal reasoning in favor of judicial tyranny prevailed then, as it does now. No, I'm not anti-abortion, but if "pro-choice" activists want to create an abortion "right", they have to fight for it state-by-state, just as women's suffrage was a century ago.
--There was no stem-cell research, but there was a similar debate over AIDS research. And frankly, in both cases the amount of demagoguery on the part of the Left, unsupported by any scientific fact whatsoever, prevailed/prevails. There is one big difference of course. Terrible accidents like the one that struck Christopher Reeve are hardly the same as deliberately suicidal "bath house culture" behavior. AIDS was (and is) a terrible disease where a milligram of prevention was worth countless tons of non-existent "cure".
--Same-sex marriage was just a gleam in Andrew Sullivan's then twenty something and searching for "rough trade" eye, but there was lots of talk about AIDS, including a massive effort to free gays of the stigma associated with the disease by promoting the idea--false, as it turned out--that a heterosexual epidemic would break out any day now, and that even promiscuity in heterosexual sex was as risky as male homosexual sodomy.
--Believe it or not, there were global warming alarmists then, too. High School students used to argue their merits in those high school debate days. I was one of them. Of course, the "global cooling" alarmism of the 1970's was a much more recent memory back then.....
--The Cold War IS in many ways similar to the war on terror.
- There were dupes then insisting that the Soviet empire wasn't all that bad and they could be appeased, and there are dupes now making the same claims with respect to Iran.
- There were those claiming that El Salvador would be Reagan's Vietnam, and there are those claiming that Iraq is Bush's. And in both cases, their solution was/is the same: let the goons win.
- That stupid "Coexist" bumper sticker reminds me so much of the "nuclear freeze" stickers, and the same naive dupes who put the nuclear freeze stickers on then put the Coexist sticker on now.
- The people who insist 9/11 is a conspiracy now are the same people who knelt down and bent over to perform political fellatio on the Sandinistas then and insisted that the Sandinistas and their ilk were just freeing themselves from American imperialism.
The main thing I took away from this AP dispatch, though, is a realization that I am getting old. I was a 13 year old kid in 1981, and here's the AP describing it as some long-bygone halcyon era, sort of the way the '50s were in the '80s.
And you know, they don't make nostalgia like they used to.